We have reached the point today where the attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have truly gone through the looking glass, to a point where purveyors of deliberate and congenital dishonesty, those who have themselves peddled vicious anti-Semitism, are now standing in judgment on that subject, to the point where the media establishment wanders around believing that associating with Jews is itself a confirmation of anti-Semitism.
That point was reached after the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog posted “Corbyn Meets Far-Left Group Who Called For The Destruction Of Israel And Attacked Critics As ‘Non-Jews’”. Who did Jezza meet? The SWP? Hamas? ISIS? A London chapter of Al Qa’eda? Well, no. He celebrated Seder, or Passover, with a radical Jewish group called Jewdas, somewhere in Islington.
The resulting accusations, cobbled together by Fawkes teaboy Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, are a classic of dishonesty and misinformation masquerading as fact, such as “At the height of Labour’s anti-Semitism scandal, Corbyn chose to mark Passover alongside a fringe group that despises and is despised by mainstream Jews”. He celebrated with a Jewish group. But Wickham managed to miss the “Jewish” bit. Deliberately.
This is who the media establishment takes on trust ...
And the Fawkes teaboy concludes with more of the same: “For Corbyn to meet such a group is outrageous, but to do so after everything that has happened over the last two weeks shows a complete contempt for mainstream British Jews. This is going to be very, very difficult for Jezza to explain”. Telling the readers what to think.
So now we have a gofer to Staines, someone whose past includes attempts to cosy up to the BNP, and whose blog called Ed Miliband a “spastic marionette” with a “convulsive string master”, then later called him “no messiah”, “other-worldly” and “crucifixion material”, telling everyone which kinds of Jews are acceptable, and which are not.
... while believing a known liar. Oh dear!
The Fawkes massive is also deliberately conflating anti-Semitism with opinions and assertions regarding the state of Israel, which is an interesting one, given that one form of casual and unacceptable excusing of anti-Semitism is to respond “yes but Israel”. Also, Staines went for a consolation drink with former Tory MP Aidan Burley after the latter was exposed as taking part in a Nazi-themed stag party. Nazis? No problem for Guido.
That much was bad enough, but the knee-jerk acceptance by some in the media who should know better, not least Iain Dale, who described the Fawkes blog as “no smear, just facts” (er, no). Owen Bennett and James Ball also get less than totally honourable mentions. It was left to Owen Jones to restore some sanity: “Jeremy Corbyn celebrating Seder with leftwing Jews in his constituency is now a hostile news story. Astonishing really. (Well, not astonishing, but you know what I mean)”. Others were less sanguine.
Daniel Pitt pointed out the sewer of anti-Semitic comments on the Fawkes blog, while the most telling comments came from Jewish voices on the left, one telling “Jeremy Corbyn participated fully in a Seder tonight that was over four hours long - completely engaged from start to end, including leading the blessing for Elijah’s cup. He was a welcome INVITED GUEST, how dare anyone try to spoil what was a really lovely evening”.
Annie Kehune summed up her feelings. “After Corbyn attended @geoffreyjewdas Seder last night I feel encouraged about his commitment to making the Labour Party a place where Jews feel comfortable … But the way Jewdas are being described by right wing news pundits this morning suggests when it comes to fighting antisemitism we’re gonna need a bigger boat”. And Jewish Voice for Labour made the obvious point.
“It would be useful if you tried to find out something about @Jewdas before launching your attack. They are a group of young, observant, engaged Jews who are committed to defending human rights. Opining ignorantly on who are acceptable Jews is a form of antisemitism”. Because that’s what it is - deciding which Jews are acceptable to polite society, and which are not. That, as JVL state correctly, is a form of anti-Semitism.
But worst of all is the acceptance of an attack by a congenital liar, who works for an accessory to torture and murder who shilled for Apartheid South Africa, at a blog which has posted rabidly anti-Semitic material on more than one previous occasion, as unvarnished fact by a media establishment who really ought to know better by now.
Anti-Semitism is a serious matter. It is too serious to leave to those whose past includes the back catalogue of The Great Guido. You’ve been played, media people.